The Chicago Bears held their first padded practice today, and head coach Matt Nagy subsequently spoke with the media at length about the Bears preseason. Sporting a white top with orange and blue striped sleeves, and a growing grey in his beard, he fielded questions from Chicago Bears beat writers via Zoom. Issues raised included running back depth, veteran leadership, injuries, the infamous quarterback competition, and which players made correctable mental mistakes today.
Nagy was asked early about Jimmy Graham’s fit in the offense, and Nagy noted the traits which will help Graham fit into this offense well are his experience, confidence, and that “he’s a leader - a vocal leader.” He also noted that Graham is “able to be a mentor and a leader in that room, along with Demetrius Harris.” Nagy sounded hopeful that Cole Kmet will develop well as a professional with Jimmy Graham as a mentor. On the subject of the Bears rookie Tight End, Nagy revealed that Kmet had a false start in practice, and emphasized the coaching mindset of how players react to a mistake, and whether they make the same mistake twice.
It was revealed that Return Specialist/Wide Receiver Cordarelle Patterson took reps at Running Back at today’s practice, a role he held in 2018 when he played for the New England Patriots, when he ran the ball 42 times for 228 yards and a touchdown on top of his normal position at Wide Receiver. “It is different...there’s different techniques that he’s going to learn” Nagy said, confidently praising running backs Coach Charles London and passing game coordinator Dave Ragone for their ability to involve Patterson in the running game.
On the subject of practice pace, Nagy did sound a bit frustrated. He called their tempo “OK” and said “it’s only going to get better.” He said players and coaches alike were excited to get back out there for a padded practice. “We’re tired of the meetings, we’re ready for the pads.”
Other teams around the NFL are implementing protective face shields at practice, something Nagy was asked about the Bears potentially doing. He called the face shields “sleek” but didn’t lay out a changed policy and wasn’t aware of any players opting to wear them moving forward. “I’ll have to ask around to see...some guys were talking about it.” The Bears are currently requiring face covering (masks) at contact practice.
Two competitions Nagy spoke about were the Quarterback competition, a hot offseason topic, and a less official competition between new offensive line coach Juan Castillo and defensive line coach Jay Rodgers. On the competitiveness of the coaches, Nagy praised Castillo, who’s starting his first season with the Bears, for his fire and energy, and used the mantra “let’s be competitive, but let’s not be combative” about players competing against teammates they need healthy on Sundays. On the Quarterback competition, Nagy further spoke on the maturity of Mitchell Trubisky, on the last year of his contract, and credited his staff for Trubisky’s maturity with the situation. Nagy said Trubisky needs to “play quarterback the best that he can, and not worry about anything else” but also emphasized that Trubisky and Foles have already become great teammates for each other. “Those guys right now, when they watch tape, they’re genuinely helping each other out.” He further stated that Foles and Trubisky are on equal footing in the competition. “We’re just going to let them play it out, roll the ball out, have no agenda, and may the best man win”
On the injury front, Nagy said veteran Defensive Back Sherrick McManis has a shoulder injury which sidelined him from practice today, although he was not concerned about an extended absence. Robert Quinn sat out today, as well, due to a previous personal issue putting him behind with his training. Coach Nagy said his training staff will focus on “physically making sure we’re smart” because he’s a veteran.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the topics discussed today, and as always, stay safe and be well.